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H&S and Stress.

Employment and Discrimination Law

H&S and Stress.

Postby Hairyloon » Wed Aug 02, 2017 9:58 pm

Stress is well established as being significantly detrimental to health. Are there any rules, guidelines or precedents in respect of employers exposing their staff to stress?
Clearly many very well paid jobs are fairly stressful, and that is why they are well paid, but I am thinking more of the poor sod on minimum wage at the front desk of the local branch of the National Purveyors of Overpriced Crap: by selling crap at such inflated prices they are lining themselves up for regular visitations from angry customers and they are clearly not trained to deal with them properly. This seems to me to be a wilful disregard for the welfare of the staff...
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Re: H&S and Stress.

Postby dls » Thu Aug 03, 2017 7:44 am

Stress is well established as being significantly detrimental to health.


And often significantly contributing to achievement.
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Re: H&S and Stress.

Postby shootist » Thu Aug 03, 2017 8:02 am

Is the suggestion that nobody should be exposed to stress in the course of their employment, or that they should be trained to deal with it? If the latter I would suggest that such training starts at home where children should be gradually introduced to something called 'reality', a perspective there seems to be a growing insistence that everybody should be shielded from. The old expression "If you can't stand the heat then get out of the kitchen" is a good one.
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Re: H&S and Stress.

Postby Hairyloon » Thu Aug 03, 2017 9:50 am

shootist wrote:Is the suggestion that nobody should be exposed to stress in the course of their employment, or that they should be trained to deal with it?

The suggestion, as with any hazard, is that there should be a proper risk assessment and strategy developed.
In the example I gave, it is perfectly acceptable to put a spotty teenager on the checkout if, in the event of an angry customer they can simply go and fetch the manager, but it is not fine if that spotty teenager is where the buck stops.

Another example perhaps is in an office where a regular client has developed an adverse relationship with one of the staff (they have come to the opinion that they are stupid and/or deluded). There would, I think, have to be a good reason for having that staff member deal with that client rather than allocate it to another worker.
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Re: H&S and Stress.

Postby shootist » Thu Aug 03, 2017 11:07 am

Hairyloon wrote:
shootist wrote:Is the suggestion that nobody should be exposed to stress in the course of their employment, or that they should be trained to deal with it?

The suggestion, as with any hazard, is that there should be a proper risk assessment and strategy developed.
In the example I gave, it is perfectly acceptable to put a spotty teenager on the checkout if, in the event of an angry customer they can simply go and fetch the manager, but it is not fine if that spotty teenager is where the buck stops.

Another example perhaps is in an office where a regular client has developed an adverse relationship with one of the staff (they have come to the opinion that they are stupid and/or deluded). There would, I think, have to be a good reason for having that staff member deal with that client rather than allocate it to another worker.


With the arrival of H&S and the abandonment of thought it often ends up achieving, the problems you instance that would previously be dealt with by competent management who would realise the situation that has arisen. All too often nowadays if the problem isn't on the risk assessment then it doesn't exist. The problems of building up a risk assessment that caters for every imaginable situation would by virtue of it's size make the document completely worthless. Not to forget that a person suffering from stress, as opposed to causing it, has a duty to himself to deal with it. As an example, if a person is totally unable to cope with the sight of blood then they ought not seek employment as a nurse in an A&E department.
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Re: H&S and Stress.

Postby Hairyloon » Thu Aug 03, 2017 7:53 pm

I suggest that the problems you describe are more likely to be due to a lack of competent management rather than contributing to the cause of it.
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Re: H&S and Stress.

Postby tph » Thu Aug 03, 2017 8:51 pm

Hairyloon wrote:Stress is well established as being significantly detrimental to health. Are there any rules, guidelines or precedents in respect of employers exposing their staff to stress?
Clearly many very well paid jobs are fairly stressful, and that is why they are well paid, but I am thinking more of the poor sod on minimum wage at the front desk of the local branch of the National Purveyors of Overpriced Crap: by selling crap at such inflated prices they are lining themselves up for regular visitations from angry customers and they are clearly not trained to deal with them properly. This seems to me to be a wilful disregard for the welfare of the staff...


You cannot be exposed to stress. Stress is your reaction to your environment. It is therefore difficult to assess whether a certain environment will or will not be stressful as it is dependent on how an individual will react. What a good employer should do is monitor how stressful individuals find their jobs.
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